11.10.21

SCHUMER REVEALS: UNDER ‘BIF,’ LIRR & COMMUTER RAIL WILL GET A RECORD $2.6B IN OWN FED ALLOCATION; MANY OTHER LI TRANSPO PROJECTS & PRIORITIES ARE POISED FOR NEW ACTION & FUNDING, INCLUDING HELP TO LI’S DISABLED, NEW SIGNALS & MORE

Schumer Has Just Spoken With Fed DOT & Wants LI Funds Delivered ASAP, Including LIRR’s OWN Commuter Rail Carve-Out; MANY LOCAL LI Projects Will Get Moving, Including New LIRR ADA Stations, Jamaica Capacity Overhaul, LIE Safety Measures, Heckscher State Parkway Bridge Repair, Meadowbrook State Parkway Rehab & More; It’s ALL Jobs!

Schumer Says These Dollars Will Help Keep 24/7 Service, Help Stop Service Cuts, Keep Workers On The Job & Riders Riding; Next, Schumer Wants LIRR’s Share In Hand ASAP

Schumer: Long Island Was A Focal Point For Me In Negotiating & Passing BIF—Because COVID Hit This Island Hard

Standing with locals from the commuter council, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that under the just-passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) that he negotiated in the Senate, LIRR and commuter rail will receive their own federal allocation of $2.6 billion in total.

Schumer said that when he was leading the negotiations on this legislation that he was focused on Long Island, because of how hard COVID hit the Island and its countless commuters. Schumer also revealed other local transportation projects poised for new action and funding. These include new ADA enhancements at LIRR stations, Jamaica Capacity Overhaul, LIE safety measures, Heckscher State Parkway Bridge repair, Meadowbrook State Parkway rehab, and more.

“Long Island was a focal point for me in both negotiating and passing the bipartisan infrastructure deal, because COVID hit us here really, really hard,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “It was and is critical for the LIRR to get its own carve out of federal dollars because the LIRR has its own unique needs. In addition, local projects that will repair roads, bridges, the LIE and more are going to make getting around on the Island safer and better, not to mention this is a local job boon for construction and trade, and it has only just begun.”

Schumer said the direct investments in the LIRR alone will help keep 24/7 service in place, help combat service cuts, keep workers working and riders riding. Schumer also said the jobs boon from this work will be evident on Long Island as he revealed project details and talked about what happens next, including his talks with DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg.   

Schumer detailed a few of the Long Island projects that will soon advance:

  • Jamaica Capacity Improvements/Interlocking Expansion:
    • Schumer said Jamaica Station’s signaling and track layout are ancient. This leads to delays impacting 11 of the 12 LIRR lines during rush hour. The $2.6B going to LIRR and commuter rail will help the MTA fund a modernization project—the Jamaica Capacity Improvement—to address delays at Jamaica, which is known locally as the “Jamaica Crawl.” The project will modernize the signaling, while streamlining the Hall Interlocking adjacent to the station.
    • More info on Jamaica capacity expansion here and short video about Phase 2 of the project here.

“They call it the ‘Jamaica crawl,’ but because of the bipartisan infrastructure bill passing, things are bound to speed-up for anxious commuters,” Schumer added.

  • LIRR ADA Station Improvements:
    • LIRR will use BIF funding to make accessibility improvements at its stations, including St. Albans, Locust Manor, and right here in Massapequa Park.

In addition, Schumer said that $24B in Northeast Corridor grants in the BIF will also help Long Island. Specifically, Schumer said, Penn Station Rehab will mean a more comfortable and less stressful commute for LIRR commuters. The MTA is focused on using these funds as the primary federal funding source for the Penn project.

Aside from these funds, Schumer also said New York will get $11.5 billion via federal funding formulas for repairing and rebuilding highways, as well as $1.9B for bridge repair and replacement. Funds from here will also find their way to Long Island. Schumer pointed to a few of these projects, which he views as critically important:

  • Long Island Expressway Improvements:
    • Schumer said there will be a resilient pavement replacement program along the LIE to improve safety and mobility for daily commuters.
  • Heckscher State Parkway Bridge Repairs:
    • Schumer said the repair of three bridges along the Heckscher State Parkway in Suffolk County will extend the service life of each, maintaining the reliability and integrity of the structures.
  • Meadowbrook State Parkway Improvements:
    • Schumer said there will be a pavement renewal on the Meadowbrook State Parkway to Merrick Road in Nassau County which will enhance safety and extend the service life of the facility for at least 10-years.
  • Long Island’s critical airports will also see BIF funds:

Long Island MacArthur

$21,595,630

Republic

$3,735,000

Francis S Gabreski

$1,480,000

East Hampton

$1,480,000

Brookhaven

$1,480,000

Elizabeth Field

$550,000

Bayport Aerodrome

$550,000

“The bipartisan infrastructure is a record deal and a once-in-a-generation investment in New York and Long Island infrastructure. A building and jobs boon for construction projects from Nassau to Suffolk, and everywhere in between is now brewing,” said Schumer. 

“Whether it’s our mass transit system, critical bridges or highway repairs, fixing our subway tunnels in the city, safety improvements at our Long Island airports, or ensuring clean drinking water for all, this bill will rebuild and help revive the Island’s infrastructure and create good paying jobs. As Majority Leader, I was proud to have lead this historic bill to passage, which will deliver the largest federal investment in public transit and infrastructure in New York’s history, so that we can continue to recover from COVID and come back even stronger,” he said.

"Recognizing that people with disabilities are a large part of LIRR ridership, ensuring that stations are completely ADA compliant has been a priority of mine since I began in the NY Senate," said Senator John E. Brooks (SD-8). "Thanks to Senator Schumer’s monumental effort in passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill we will now be able to install elevators and make other essential improvements to several stations thereby allowing thousands of mobility-disabled individuals greater independence with full access for their transportation needs."

“Infrastructure week is here. The passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is an historic political and legislative accomplishment. After decades of inaction we got here thanks to the leadership of Senator Schumer. Victories like this highlight why it is vital we have Senator Schumer representing the State of New York, and serving as Majority leader of the United States Senate. This $1 trillion investment in clean drinking water, high speed internet, rail, roads, bridges, and more will create opportunities for Americans to go to work and move our country forward by investing in our communities supporting good union jobs,” said John R. Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

“The billions of dollars that will come to the MTA will translate to real improvements for riders on the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North, and our subways and buses.  More accessible stations means a more equitable transit system for all. Expansion projects like extending the Second Avenue Subway and building Penn Access will speed the trip for tens of thousands of riders, giving them back countless hours to spend with their families. Finally completing East Side Access and Third Track, and fixing Penn Station, will ease the commute for Long Islanders on their way to the office or the city for a show or to visit friends and family. This money will help ease the MTA’s cash crunch and mean it won’t have to borrow quite as much, so it won’t have to pay as much debt service and that’s good news, since those dollars can go for keeping service and fares where they are.  A billion thanks to Senator Schumer for all his work on behalf of riders!” said Lisa Daglian, Executive Director, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

“Long Island Rail Road riders will truly benefit from the infrastructure money that Senator Schumer made a reality. The MTA will finally be able to fix the ‘Jamaica Crawl’ and there is light at the end of the East River Tunnel repair project. The money will help make more stations accessible, including Massapequa Park and, we hope soon, Mets Willets-Point.   New train cars and track and signal replacement will mean a smoother ride. We’ll also benefit from a faster ride when East Side Access and Third Track are completed. A revamped Penn Station also means our days will also start and end more pleasantly. Thank you Senator Schumer for bringing home the billions!” said Gerard Bringmann, MTA Board Member and chair, Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council.

“All of Long Island should join me in standing and applauding Senator Chuck Schumer for his leadership in securing $2.6 billion of federal funds exclusively for LIRR and other critical Long Island transportation projects. These crucial investments will help keep our trains running, prevent service cuts, secure good jobs, and most importantly increase Long Island Expressway safety. Thank you, Senator,” said Long Island Contractors’ Association Deputy Executive Director Sherlyn Buro.

Schumer pointed out that the MTA’s overall allocation via the BIF stands at over $10 billion. The LIRR and Metro-North will receive $2.6 billion, their own carve out.

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